Brown spots on teeth: What are they and how do you treat them?
White teeth are a sign that you have great oral health. Therefore, if you start to see brown spots on a tooth or teeth, it’s understandable to be concerned. There is no one reason you may get brown spots on your teeth. Brown spots can be caused by a variety of factors – some of them serious and others not.
Spots on your teeth can range from brown to yellow, while some look like spots or patches and others look more like marks or lines. If you have noticed brown spots appear on your teeth it’s a good idea to have them checked out by your dentist as soon as possible.
Are discolored teeth always unhealthy?
No. Discoloured teeth aren’t automatically unhealthy. It’s important to know that teeth come in a wide range of shades. Just because your teeth aren’t a bright white doesn’t mean you have poor oral hygiene.
Teeth can naturally be shades of white, cream, and light yellow and still be perfectly healthy. However, brown spots and marks on the teeth can be a sign of dental decay or poor oral hygiene. Tooth discoloration is sometimes reported in association with some antibiotics, but this is very rare.
What causes brown spots on teeth?
Brown spots on teeth are unsightly but they may also be a sign of poor oral health. There are several reasons you may notice discoloration on your teeth:
Smoking Tobacco Products
Smoking is notoriously bad for your teeth. Tobacco of all kinds can cause surface stains on teeth and discoloration of the enamel. While this may sound like a mild price to pay for smoking, there are other side effects that are even worse for your teeth.
Smoking restricts the blood flow to your gums and can actually cause your teeth to loosen and fall out over time. Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your oral health. Chewing tobacco, cigarettes, and cigars are all bad for your oral health.
Dark Coloured Foods and Drink
Some foods and beverages can cause discoloration to your teeth. Coffee, tea, and red wine contain tannins that cause discoloration. Similarly, dark soft drinks like coca-cola do the same. Some foods can also cause discoloration to teeth including some berries and pomegranates.
There’s no real harm from eating berries to the overall health of your teeth. However, soft drinks, tea, and coffee are all acidic and can actually harm the enamel of your teeth. Cut back on the amount of these drinks you consume, use whitening toothpaste and drinking water to help reduce the acid on your tooth enamel.
One symptom of tooth decay is dark spots on the enamel of your teeth. This is caused by plaque and tartar bacteria eating away at the sugars in your food. Bacteria then produce enamels that attack the outer layer of enamel, which is designed to protect your teeth. As your tooth enamel weakens, your teeth may appear to discolour.
Dark spots of decay can appear around the edges of a filling or crown. These can grow and cause cavities over time. Eating less sugar is a great way to prevent tooth decay as is seeing your dentist on a regular basis.
Plaque Forms Into Tartar
When bacteria mix with saliva and food in the mouth it causes plaque to form. This is a white, sticky substance you may notice coats your teeth. Plaque can be removed by brushing your teeth. When plaque isn’t removed it turns hard and forms tartar. You may notice tartar building upon the backs of teeth or in hard-to-reach places in your mouth.
Once tartar has formed in your mouth it needs to be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist. Left untreated it can lead to gum disease and increase your chances of getting brown spots and cavities.
What symptoms to look out for
Brown spots on teeth can be a symptom of a cavity. If you notice spots forming on your teeth see a dentist as soon as possible. If the brown spots are accompanied by the following symptoms you may have tooth decay or gingivitis:
- Sore gums
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
How to treat brown spots on teeth
See your dentist first before trying to treat brown spots on teeth yourself. You may need a filling or at worse, a root canal. If your dentist gives you the all-clear there are some additional things you can do to stop brown spots and tooth discoloration:
- Quit smoking immediately
- Brush teeth after drinking tea, coffee, or red wine
- Use a whitening toothpaste every day
- Use whitening strips – but only as directed
- Get your teeth professionally whitened
- Swap soda or caffeinated drinks for flavored water or herbal tea
- Brush after every meal and floss once a day
- Avoid sugary foods and drinks to reduce tooth decay
Are you concerned about brown spots on your teeth?
If you are concerned about brown spots on your teeth, see the friendly team at Gentle Dental. Our dentists will make sure your mouth, teeth, and gums are healthy. We can tell you whether the discoloration on your teeth is anything to worry about or a sign of a bigger problem. Book an appointment online today.